Dentists of the Last Frontier

Up in Alaska, the Libbys are the first family of dentistry. And they’re just getting started.

Anchorage, Alaska, population 301,000. Somewhere in there resides the Libby family. Four of them are dentists, one an orthodontist. Among the five of them, the Libby clan has created something of a dental dynasty in Alaska’s largest city: Their family has treated and brightened an enormous number of smiles there, according to Incisal Edge magazine’s Alexandra Levine @Ali_Lev.

In a recent interview, she spoke with a member of the second generation of Libby dentists, Dr. Landon Libby, (shown, above left, with his brother Dr. Justin Libby) who broke the family pattern by starting his career in San Diego.

“I’m a big believer in the power of mentorship, and I committed to going anywhere in the country to find a mentor to work with,” Landon says.

He found that mentor in Southern California.

“I was drawn to the style of dentistry he was doing, his mastery of the business practice and patient experience, and his ability to lead a dynamic team. He had created that office that everyone looks at and goes, ‘Wow, that’s amazing.’ That’s what brought me to San Diego, and I wouldn’t have changed a thing.”

According to Levine’s story, the first in the family to become a dentist was James “Jim” Libby, who graduated from Loma Linda University School of Dentistry in California in the 1970s. He worked his way up in the field as an associate in Anchorage, gradually purchased a number of practices around him and eventually opened his own, The Libby Group.The Libby Group

Next up: his brother, Stephen, and nephew, Warren. Like Jim, both graduated from Loma Linda, Stephen becoming a dentist and Warren an orthodontist. They, too, built practices in Anchorage.

Finally came Jim’s sons, Justin and Landon, both of whom finished dental school at Loma Linda in 2011. “It was a real highlight going through dental school with my brother,” says Landon, who is two years older. “We lived together and always sat next to each other in class. We’ve been on the same wavelength our whole life. We’ve always been best friends and still are.”

After graduating, Justin set up shop as a dentist in Anchorage, while Landon shifted his efforts to San Diego, where he met his wife, who’s now the one hygienist in his office —Libby Dental.

For one month each summer, the Libbys leave their practices behind and migrate en masse to Bristol Bay in western Alaska, where they run a large operation called Libby Family Fishing. (Their wives, kids, aunts and uncles go, too.)

How do they man their own boats and man their own dental practices? Read the complete interview at:

http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/9c07c7ab#/9c07c7ab/26

sunset on Bristol Bay Aslaka.JPG

Sunset over Bristol Bay, Alaska.

 

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